A 2000 study found that women may be at particular risk of stress-induced eating and weight gain. Of course, if you’ve ever polished off a dozen Krispy Kremes or Hagen Daaz Butter Pecan ice cream (Shhh…my fave) at the end of a particularly daunting day at work, you probably don’t need scientific proof of this.
Other studies continually show the top reasons for divorce is money issues. Money issues around the lack of, over-spending, and unclear communication between couples. In either study the underlying result is stressful living around such circumstances. Additionally, stressed couples, and individuals were found to consume alcohol more often, eat emotionally and make irrational money decisions to stop the pain (stress).
There is good news. Interestingly, there were a variety of common lifestyle-related predictors for men becoming stress-eaters or spenders in the study, such as job-loss or divorce. For women, the main cause was narrowed down to one issue — lack of emotional support and low self-esteem.
How To Cope
Since lack of emotional support is so directly linked to women’s tendency to stress-eat and spend recklessly, it is important that you build your own support network. This could mean joining a support group or in-person weight-loss program, getting a gym buddy, or as it relates to finances; get a coach or join an online money tool for management. Or, it may be as simple as knowing which friend or family member you can turn to for support and motivation when you begin “acting out” in response to stress. Whether they’re an e-mail, phone call, or visit away, reaching out to others for help is crucial to getting the healthy-living support we crave.
- Get Moving: [HEALTH] Instead of reaching for a snack, walk outside for a brisk 15-minute walk or walk up and down some stairs a few times. A burst of activity may help suppress your appetite. Simply moving around or fidgeting may help alleviate tension, so if you have been seated at your desk or phone for a while, just get up and move a little even if you cannot get away for an actual walk. [WEALTH] Ordering credit reports and beginning to take stock of where you are will begin to help you face the numbers. While scary, it’s truthful and responsible. What you won’t confront, you cannot change
- Get Consistent: [HEALTH] Get regular exercise; experts agree that regular physical activity is one of the most effective ways to deal with stress. It helps to regulate cortisol levels, it can help alleviate depression, and it will help you get a better night’s sleep. [WEALTH] Consistently balance your checkbook and money matters. Consistently pay bills for increased credit score. Consistently keep your word on financial agreements such as loans. Doing so, empowers you for more money and more good health
- Rest: [HEALTH] Get enough sleep. If you do not sleep well when you’re stressed, that may have an impact on your weight loss efforts, too. Your body needs time to fully rest and recover from a days activity. If you cannot seem to sleep solidly or “turn off your brain” at night, try getting into a routine each night. A routine may consist of, turning off TV 30 minutes before your bedtime, then reading a book or passage, writing your next day’s activities, sipping on hot tea or mediating. Do something each night that will alert your body/brain that it’s bedtime. Remember when you were a kid and it was story time before bed? Same idea. Set the tone and prepare your body for bed by developing a nightly routine
- Write it down: [HEALTH] One of the best ways to get a handle on any type of emotional eating (and caloric intake) is to keep a food journal. Simply keeping a notebook of your food and beverage intake along with notations about your feelings before and after eating is a great start. Review the journal every few days to get a picture of what feelings prompt you to overeat, and take the time to think about alternatives to eating. [WEALTH] Write down all purchases and spending. Track your expenses and income to accurately know where all monies are being dispersed. You should never be in denial about where your money went
- Inner Guidance: Consider relaxation exercises that will ease your anxiety without food, such as imagery and guided visualization, deep breathing, and meditation. Try an activity that combines relaxation with physical activity, such as Tai Chi or yoga. In short, prayer works in both areas.